As conceived by its curator Rasim Seidimov, Magma is not just your average exhibition, but an arts festival, planned as an annual fall event. Hosted by the Fortress of Kyiv museum, it will run till October 20, treating its visitors to paintings and installations, poetry readings and film screenings.
The choice of the Fortress of Kyiv as the exhibition’s venue was a bold idea, designed to completely destroy the elitist refinement of the art world and focus the viewer’s attention on artists’ free and realistic visions of life. Organizers have succeeded with it completely, which comes as no great surprise given the nature of artworks and characteristic severity of most rooms’ interiors.
Immediately at the entrance to the exhibition space, the viewer encounters a marine shells installation, recalling the Arabian Sea, water-and-sand piece provides further connection with nature (it could be seen in action at the presentation), while the last room houses an utopian attempt to recreate the space of land art. Narrative and abstract paintings, gesso pieces and installations allow the visitor to look at the idea of the exhibition through the eyes of very different artists with individual outlooks and unique visions. Moving through the rooms, the interested viewer will be able to realize their own sense of the burning magma in the depths of the soul.
The Silk Road installation tells about the artist’s internal transformation, his personal reactions to people and events, as well as awareness of one’s anxieties, doubts and fears, a commonplace topic in the contemporary art. Its creator, artist and curator Rasim Seidimov, commented on his work thus: “I painted for a long time, but now I find expressing myself via objects more interesting, using pieces of tree trunks, canvasses, household items, and other objects which I have intentionally painted with a neutral white color. This approach allows me to deviate from concreteness and materiality, to discuss eternal values with the viewer. I use this generalized philosophical language. The Silk Road is dealing with several universal themes, including the human being’s place in the world, environmental issues, and my state of mind. I created the installation right here at the museum, completing it just three days prior to the exhibition’s opening.”
The viewer certainly will not be bored while walking along the exposition. Gloomy and severe, symbol-rich works by Oleksii Malykh and friendly, tense spectral colors of Viacheslav Strannik’s canvasses, burning flames of Inna Pantelemonova’s abstract paintings, and Oleh Yaseniev’s ascetic metaformism create a multi-faceted dimension of the exhibition space.
Still, it seems logical that Magma’s future annual iterations will see a triumph of more rigorous project selection. This will benefit the entire exhibition, which, to be honest, has to convey a clearly articulated message to visitors. The very idea to name the festival “Magma” is telling, showing the organizers’ intent to immerse the viewer into the artists’ deepest and most important attitudes, their vision of reality without hypocrisy and beyond stereotypes. Concept of the exhibition, as given in the curatorial idea statement, is “Ukrainian artists responsibility for need to remind the humankind constantly that the cold is passe, while the hot is a sign of change.”
While the overall conceptual idea’s integrity is obvious, its individual interpretations are, of course, quite diverse, because Magma has brought together very different creators: Andrii Bludov, Leonid Bernat, Anatolii Stepanenko, Viacheslav Strannik, Sergei Alekseev, Rasim Seidimov, Andrii Baranovsky, Tetiana Rusetska and Alla Volobueva, both of Slava Frolova-GROUP, Petro Lebedynets, Inna Pantelemonova, Bohdan Burak, Valerii and Maryna Shkarupa, Anna Milevska, Oleksandr Druhanov, Temo Svirely, Pavlo Yakovlevych, and Oleksii Malykh.
“Each participant was completely free to create their own project,” Magma’s curator Rasim Seidimov said. “My job was to select works and place them harmoniously in the exhibition space. I hope that the festival will help all of us find ways to attain greater freedom of artistic expression in the future.”